Mobile Carriers Implement a New Registration Requirement to Verify Messaging – Register by March 31, 2023
January 16, 2023 |
Mobile carriers implemented a new registration requirement to help verify messaging traffic from business phone numbers. These requirements apply to all customers sending SMS from long code numbers, regardless of country and use case.
To ensure you are able to continue sending messages, you’ll need to register your business through RingCentral with The Campaign Registry (TCR), a third-party organization. This process verifies you’re a legitimate SMS/MMS messages source. To register, we require you to use the registration form we’ve provided on our website.
Which carriers require SMS compliance?
As of January 6, 2022, the following carriers require TCR registration:
What if I fail to register?
Everyone are required to register by March 31, 2023. Failure to register will result in SMS being disabled for your account, or any non-registered numbers. To make registration easier, RingCentral will allow self-registration through the admin portal starting February 10, 2023. In the interim, customers may register using the registration form we have provided on our website.
Most small and medium businesses don’t have the resources or the budget to set up a full-blown IT department. They may have one or two designated employees, but to truly reach their goals, they usually need to outsource IT.
By outsourcing technological pieces, a business can save money and time. It doesn’t need to spend the money and resources on developing an in-house option. These expenses can add up for a small business, especially one that might not even use technology all that much.
Many companies that don’t think they need IT help are behind the curve. We live in a technology-dependent world, where our phones are never more than 10 feet away from us. IT services are practically a necessity for any modern business — even ones that don’t feel they use technology much. The back end of security and servers is more complicated than many administrators realize, and ignoring it could mean you are just waiting for an incident to happen. By outsourcing IT, you can stay ahead of these problems.
One important consideration when outsourcing IT is whether managed or professional services are right for your business. What is the difference between managed services and professional services? We’ll go over the differences and the pros and cons of each approach below.
What Are Managed Services?
Managed services are the typical image of IT support. These are the guys you have 24-hour access to whenever a server goes down or you need help troubleshooting some software. They also perform maintenance tasks and keep things running smoothly.
Some characteristics of a managed service include:
Day-to-day maintenance: Managed services perform routine tasks like updates and tune-ups. These tasks are easy for employees to overlook since they might not directly relate to what they’re doing. A dedicated IT force, however, can ensure that your tech isn’t left open to security problems or slow software due to outdated programs. They may also take care of things like virus removal and disk management for any slow-moving computers.
Troubleshooting: Troubleshooting is usually where people first feel the need to contact their IT department. Managed services are typically on standby and reachable whenever you have an issue. Whether your login isn’t working or some hardware won’t connect, they may be available remotely or can pay you an in-person visit to solve the issue. Many offer online chats or phone calls, as well.
Security: Some businesses aren’t well-equipped to deal with attacks on their network, or may not have sufficient security. Small and medium firms may especially benefit from outsourcing this aspect. According to Verizon’s 2019 Data Breach Incident Report, 43% of data breaches involved small business victims. Every business needs strong security, and managed services can set up robust security systems on your network. Some IT providers will also assist with data recovery in case something were to happen to your information.
Administration: Managed services can set up an entire network and maintain it for you, taking care of the operational side.
Data backup: A crash can be a high cost for a business that is unprepared for it. Recouping lost information and rebuilding a business’ resources can be expensive and time-consuming. Managed services can protect you from this cost by performing regular data backups to keep information safe. A backup can also provide security in the case of a cyberattack.
Unified communications: Unified communications combines a variety of communication methods into one streamlined approach. By combining office phones, cellphones, instant messenger, emails and voicemails, you can have a more productive, simplified way of reaching employees and clients. A managed services provider can take care of unified communications, including setup and maintenance.
Onboarding: Since managed services are always available, they can take care of onboarding programs for new employees. Setting up logins and installing software are some of the tasks they may perform.
Network monitoring: Another major benefit of managed services is that they can monitor your network 24/7 for any problems. Even a small shutdown can result in major expenses for a business. Consistent monitoring ensures that your business can respond to these issues quickly and efficiently and prevent them whenever possible.
Managed services may bundle a wide variety of tasks into one, making payments simple and eliminating headaches associated with organizing vendors.
What Are Professional Services?
Professional services are more of an on-demand solution than managed services. IT professionals may be employed for one-off projects or short-term changes in a company. Think of expansions or new hardware rollouts. They may be involved in the process from start to finish, or in only one portion. Planning, design, installation and training are all aspects that professional services can take care of. Some also provide ongoing support, such as maintenance or troubleshooting, after the work is complete.
Though the projects can be incredibly thorough and comprehensive, professional services tend to be one-offs. An expanding business may need help upscaling their system, or a company looking for a new solution may require a consultant who knows their limitations and needs. These projects can be quite varied, but professional services address specific challenges posed to a company.
Some of the areas in which a company might choose to use professional services include the following.
Consulting: Expensive losses may be the result of an uninformed purchase decision or strategy, but many professional services can prevent this through consultations. They frequently work with organizations to find the best solutions and offer expert advice.
Cloud migration: Moving an entire system to the cloud is sometimes a monumental task and one that may be beyond the capabilities of a small organization. Professional services can step in and take care of the whole process. Transferring data to the cloud can offer a variety of benefits to companies of all sizes and is often cheaper than on-site storage. Scalability, seamless integration, networking and security improvements are a few of the ways that cloud services can help a business.
Deployment: New hardware or software deployment can be a complicated process with many moving parts. Professional services bring in the experts to take care of these rollouts. They may install and configure new solutions and help implement them. A smooth transition can keep a company moving efficiently and avoid unnecessary snags.
Advanced troubleshooting: Sometimes, problems are too difficult for a small in-house team. If an issue exceeds your capabilities, professional services can step in and help. You can utilize professional services on an on-demand basis as tech support, though it may become cost-prohibitive if it is a common occurrence.
The Differences Between Managed Services and Professional Services
The most significant difference between managed services and professional services is the time frame and scope of work. Managed services are on-going and typically work off of a contract. They can cover many aspects of an organization’s IT needs on a daily basis. Professional services are project-based and usually address a specific problem or challenge.
The right choice is different for each company and depends on the solutions they are attempting to develop. Other significant factors are the size, needs and capabilities of the business. Some businesses are much more tech-heavy than others, and some have a larger in-house IT team to lean on. In these instances, managed and professional services can offer different benefits to every organization.
Find the Right Solution for Your Needs
What is better — managed or professional services? The answer differs from company to company and situation to situation. To select the right option for your organization, you’ll need to identify what it is you need from an IT service. Do you want to beef up security or reorganize a network? Are you struggling with the idea of rolling out new hardware? You may want to consider professional services to help with a specific task. Are you looking to spend less time fighting with technical challenges during the workday or set up a 24/7 monitoring system for your network? Managed services may be what you need.
Once you’ve identified what you’re looking for from an IT service, you’ll want to consider the challenges associated with each one. Remember, you are entrusting critical components of your business to a third-party service, so you’ll need to make sure that they are trustworthy. Many years of experience and strong testimonies from satisfied clients can help you gauge the success of an IT group.
Some of the pros of managed services include:
Preventative: Managed services help organizations avoid the “break-fix” mentality, which involves waiting to ask IT to step in until there is a problem. These problems can cost money and time to fix, but managed services give you an on-hand team ready to spring into action. More importantly, the steps that they take for maintenance and upkeep can prevent these problems from even happening in the first place. Network monitoring and regular updates can help keep systems secure and efficient, avoiding the need for emergency tech help. Since managed services tend to handle it all, you also won’t have to waste precious time deciding who to go to if there is a problem.
Ongoing: Managed services include 24/7 support and include continuing care for a wide variety of technical problems. You don’t need to wait for office hours or for someone to come to your building. Since the support is always there, you can call or message to get issues fixed as they come up. You also get the benefit of having a long working relationship with the company. You can develop trust and reliable communication with them, smoothing out the interactions.
Easy to budget: While you could factor in a revolving amount for various tech challenges that arise, managed services are easier to budget for, since they typically run under a manageable monthly plan.
The cons of managed services may include:
Excessive options: Depending on what needs doing, a long-term solution may not be the right choice. Maybe your smaller IT team can handle regular updates and maintenance, or you only need help with one rollout. If your team can handle the day-to-day just fine, managed services could be an unnecessary cost.
Restricted: On the other hand, some more specific services might not be included in your arrangement with the service provider. If you make frequent changes to your system or only need help once in a while, managed services may not cover all your needs.
For professional services, some of the pros include:
One-and-done: If you only need assistance for one project, event or problem, professional services may be exactly what you need. You’ll only have to pay once for their services, and you don’t need to worry about a monthly cost.
Focused: Professional services address a specific problem. It is more focused than managed services and may be more comprehensive. You can expect thorough assistance during as many or as few steps of the process as you need.
Versatile: You aren’t limited to standard IT issues. Professional services often address custom solutions. Experts can develop a solution to a variety of uncommon problems.
Finally, the cons of professional services include:
Future maintenance: With professional services, you may be on your own for future maintenance or problems. After the work is complete, professional services typically end there. You’ll either need to arrange for them to perform follow-up services or conduct maintenance on your own. You also won’t have someone monitoring your network after they finish the job.
Slower response: If you want to use professional services as a response to technical problems, it will likely involve a bit of a wait. The downtime may result in lost profits. You’ll have to spend time finding a company and getting them set up to solve the problem, making them not ideal for responding to network crashes or crucial incidents.
Plans: If using a professional service, you’ll benefit from knowing your project beforehand. If you have to change your strategy midway through the work, you may incur additional costs or time needed. Because of the scope of work, you’ll benefit from knowing what you’re doing at the outset.
In either solution, your IT needs are simplified. By combining your IT work into one company, you can avoid the hassle of making calls to multiple vendors and organizing the different services they each offer. You’ll get a more efficient and integrated solution.
You’ll also want to have a thorough understanding of what services a provider offers. Compare the benefits of each option to find the right fit for your organization.
How to Find the Right Service
You want to make sure your internet is secure and protected. Here’s a short guide on how to find the right service for your company:
Ask for opinions: Find out what IT services other companies use, whether managed or professional. Ask them about the reasons behind their decisions. Have they had any issues? How has their IT choice benefited them? Weigh your options based on what you find.
Consider your needed services and approach: Review the technological issues your company has had in the past. This review will help you recognize the services you need and narrow your search.
Search for relevant experience: A good rule of thumb is to look for an established business that serves companies similar to yours. Years of experience can show that a particular IT company has gained a good reputation with its clients. When you choose a business that’s already upstanding in the industry, its services bring a higher sense of reliability and experience.
Look for reviews: After finding a few services that seem relevant to your business, look for reviews from some of their recent customers. Reviews can help you get an idea of how quickly the service provider responds to issues and how satisfied clients are with the results.
Consider your budget: Ask for quotes from your top choices and compare the prices to your budget. Some companies have a fixed rate, while others charge per service. Choose whichever option fits your available resources.
What Both Types of IT Services Can Do
Every business requires reliable technology to run communication and securely hold data. Whichever option you choose, both managed and professional services come with benefits to help create this reliability. You no longer have to design, implement and manage IT solutions on your own.
Going with an IT service reduces your overall risks. Think of it like preventive health care for your technology — having an expert check for and correct minor concerns can help you avoid future, more expensive complications. Always have someone on call for emergency issues or schedule regular check-ins to maintain your equipment. This safety net leaves more time for your employees to work on high-priority tasks instead of trying to figure out why their email isn’t loading. Let an IT service take those responsibilities off your hands.
Morefield Is Your Technology Partner
If you are in central Pennsylvania, Morefield can help you make smart technology decisions through a variety of channels. We are a local company with over 100 highly skilled staff members, certified in a variety of areas. Whether you have a small business with almost no IT experience or a large enterprise with plenty of technology in use, Morefield can help.
We can provide both managed and professional services, depending on your needs. With fast response times and over 70 years of experience in the industry, we offer quick, effective results in both categories. Whether you need someone to manage your day-to-day operations, spearhead a new hardware rollout or something in between, Morefield Communications is there. If you’re still not sure which approach is best for you or if you want more information about our services, reach out to a representative today!
Pros and Cons of Cloud Computing
June 23, 2022 |
“The cloud” has become a popular buzzword in recent years, even if the average user doesn’t have a clear grasp of what the concept is. This form of storage has become a popular way for people to store their music, movies and other media. For businesses, the cloud presents a way to store data securely online. Cloud computing offers significant benefits over regular storage and makes data available to everyone who needs it while keeping your information secure.
What Is Cloud Computing?
Cloud computing is when entities share a network of remotely accessible servers. The servers are hosted on the internet, allowing businesses to manage data “in the cloud” instead of on a local server. It’s a shared space in which devices in the network can access data from anywhere.
Although cloud computing has only picked up major traction in the last two decades or so, the idea has existed since the 1960s. The noted computer scientist John McCarthy introduced the concept when he envisioned technology that would allow computing to be sold as a utility like electricity or water. He suggested that each subscriber would only need to pay for the capacity they actually used and that some users could offer services to other users.
While McCarthy’s vision looked like a pipe dream at the time, he was describing a phenomenon that’s taken the digital world by storm — Infrastructure as a service (IaaS). Specifically, he was describing the basis of cloud computing. Today, 77 percent of businesses have one or more applications or part of their infrastructure in the cloud. What is the purpose of cloud computing for businesses? To save money and increase efficiency.
What Are the Pros of Cloud Computing?
There’s a reason cloud computing has become so common among companies the world over — it just makes financial sense. The benefits of cloud computing are more varied and powerful than you might realize, so let’s take a deep dive into what this technology can do for you. These are the top 10 reasons to move your business to the cloud.
1. Reduce Infrastructure Costs
In-house data storage costs companies a significant amount of money. There’s the up-front price tag of purchasing each new server as well as the cost of installing them. Either your IT team has to take time out of their busy schedules to perform the installation, or you have to pay the vendor to do it. Then you need to ensure the equipment is maintained properly and backed up regularly.
Even when you invest in the best equipment, something can always go wrong due to human error. If your team is the one responsible for installation and maintenance, and they make a mistake, there’s no one to turn to for support. With cloud computing, the headache associated with maintaining in-house systems disappears as you have the support of your service provider. Because the cost of infrastructure is included in your plan and split among all the service provider’s clients, you save money.
Maintaining an in-house IT team big enough to manage local servers can quickly lead to a ballooning budget. The time spent recruiting and the money spent training are all with the hopes that you’re developing a highly effective and dedicated employee — but that’s not always the case. Some employees will underperform, and others may decide to leave the organization. Turnover in the IT field costs companies 150 percent of an employee’s salary.
Your in-house team also comes with the added cost of benefits, which cloud service can help reduce. With your service provider taking care of maintenance and backups, you can refocus your in-house team or avoid the cost of expanding it in the future.
3. Consolidate Your Data
With cloud storage, data is distributed amongst bi-costal data centers. Syncing technology makes it possible to link up and update data quickly, but storing data in the cloud makes syncing unnecessary. When all your data is stored in the cloud, you know exactly where every piece of information is at any given time.
4. Defend Against Disaster
Data loss can spell disaster for a company of any size. Data breaches cost an average of $3.86 million worldwide, and an average of $7.91 million for companies in the United States. Cloud-based storage is much more secure than operating an on-site data center. Organizations that store their data on the premises see 51 percent more security incidents than those that use cloud storage.
The enterprise-level security built into cloud storage services far outpaces what most small and medium-sized businesses (SMB) can afford on-site. One of the advantages of storing data in the cloud is that there isn’t one single point of failure. Your data gets backed up to several servers, so if one of them fails, your organization’s information remains safe and secure.
A single point of failure is what led to the infamous Equifax and Verizon data breaches, and many companies have taken steps to avoid this fatal flaw in storage security. Cloud storage is one way organizations can eliminate this danger.
5. Maximize Uptime
The financial impact of unplanned downtime cannot be understated. For every minute of unplanned downtime due to a data center outage, a company loses $5,600 on average. That’s $300,000 in just one hour. While employees might enjoy the extra time spent in the break room, the productivity lost during that time is money you won’t get back. Unplanned downtime can also heavily damage a company’s reputation if it affects customers.
Businesses today are thriving thanks to the ability to collaborate digitally. The benefits of remote work for companies are so compelling that 56 percent of startups outsource some of their work. Employees love it too, with 57 percent of workers in the computers and IT industry doing some of their work from home. Organizations are also more likely than ever to have employees working in all corners of the map, making the ability to collaborate crucial.
Cloud computing allows multiple employees to view and make changes to files and documents in real time, providing a much more efficient way for workers to collaborate on projects. Accessing documents in the cloud helps ensure everyone is working from the correct version of a document and that obsolete versions don’t get passed between local sources.
7. Stay Scalable
One of the challenges of growth is remaining scalable, so how can cloud computing benefit your company when it comes to expansion? This solution allows you to pay only for the amount of storage your business needs. If you find your organization is growing quickly enough to create the need for more storage, you have two options.
You can opt to buy and install more equipment as well as hire the people you’ll need to maintain it. With the planning and training time involved, you can expect to have your increased capacity up and running within a couple of weeks to a month or more.
Or, you could call up your cloud storage services provider and have them increase your capacity in a matter of minutes. Increasing cloud also comes with a predictable cost, eliminating the risk associated with investing in additional storage infrastructure. With a greater ability to increase or decrease your storage capacity as needed, your organization becomes more agile and competitive no matter your industry.
8. Increase Automation
A significant portion of maintaining in-house data storage is performing regular backups. The IT team has to take time to create backups and schedule them around daily operations. Cloud computing services go a long way toward automating these routine backups so your team can get back to doing the work that drives your business forward.
9. Save on Space
Servers and all their associated equipment take up significant square footage, and expanding an in-house system often requires careful planning to secure the right amount of space. Larger ventures may have some excess space to grow into, but small businesses are often fighting to make the most of every square inch. Cloud computing can free up your office for more workspace or amenities while eliminating the need to plan for future equipment expansion. With the cloud, you do not have to worry about the installation of dedicated breakers, high voltage lines, special HVAC systems or even backup generators.
10. Enhance Compliance
The hundreds of regulations that govern different types of data are complex to understand, time-consuming to apply and laborious to maintain. Why not let a cloud storage service provider do the heavy lifting when it comes to compliance? A good provider operates in full compliance with all applicable regulations, so you don’t have to worry about incurring violations.
What Are the Cons of Cloud Computing?
The advantages of storing data in the cloud are hard to ignore, but what are the disadvantages of online storage? These are the top five concerns companies have about transitioning to the cloud.
1. Understanding the Costs
Though the cloud can help reduce costs in some areas, it is important to make sure that when you move to the cloud, it truly makes sense. It is important to put a proper plan in place and look at all systems within the organization. The key is to do an analysis of the systems and group them into two categories. These two categories are systems that should be moved to the cloud and which systems should remain on-premises. Once this is determined, you can set a budget for the initiative.
2. Moving From Cloud to On-Premises
Moving from on-premises servers to cloud data centers is usually an easy process for your organization. Though this is the case, moving to another cloud supplier or back to an on-premises server is not as easy. This process can actually get quite expensive, and the terms can often favor the cloud supplier. Before deciding to enter into a contract with a supplier, make sure to ask the question and understand the process for moving workloads out of the cloud supplier data center. It is critical to cover the timelines, fines, and process.
3. Limited Control
Because the infrastructure of the cloud is owned and managed by the service provider, businesses may worry about not having enough control over the service. This is where the provider’s end-user license agreement (EULA) can help you out. It explains what limits the provider can place on your use of the deployment. All legitimate cloud computing providers allow your organization to exert control over your applications and data, even if it doesn’t allow you to alter the infrastructure in any way.
When a provider presents you with a service level agreement (SLA), it helps to make sure you understand every word of it. This will help you confirm what you can and can’t do with the service.
If your contract includes placing your own equipment in a cloud supplier’s data center (i.e., CoLo), it is important to understand the proximity of the data center to your office. Make sure to get the full list of details on the ability to access the equipment in the event it requires maintenance.
4. Vendor Lock-In
One of the disadvantages of cloud computing can come in the form of vendor mismatches. Organizations might run into complications when migrating services to a different vendor with a different platform. If this process isn’t handled correctly, data can be exposed to unnecessary vulnerabilities. A good cloud services provider has the expertise to migrate your data between vendors safely.
5. Slower Backups and Restores
Because moving data to the cloud involves some significant communication latency, backups can end up taking longer than they would with an in-house system. Even for larger, full backups, this isn’t usually an issue. The longest backups can run in the background without disrupting networks, and the subsequent smaller backups take less time.
If you need to restore a whole server, it might take longer. Individual files and folders, however, probably won’t be impacted. Differences in speed are negligible with the right provider.
6. Internet Reliance
One minor drawback to cloud computing is the fact that it’s completely reliant on the internet. If your internet connection goes down, you won’t have access to data stored in the cloud for the duration of the outage. However, an internet interruption won’t destroy or compromise your data stored in the cloud. Since your business needs the internet to perform nearly every function, cloud computing is really no different than any other web-based tool.
7. Internet Use
If you’re running backups during working hours when people are heavily using the internet, a large backup to the cloud has the potential to increase congestion and reduce your internet performance. This issue primarily affects small businesses without the resources to invest in the highest internet bandwidth and speeds. However, a good provider will work with you to avoid this issue through scheduling or automation.
Cloud Computing FAQ
While cloud computing technology is becoming more prevalent, it can be a complex topic. Here are a few answers to frequently asked questions about cloud computing for further understanding.
How Do Vendors Charge for Cloud Services?
Each cloud service provider charges for cloud services differently. Pricing models can be based on subscription or dynamic usage. Some providers use a pay-as-you-go (PAYG) model where you pay for the cloud services you have used. PAYG allows you to end your service at any time. This model is ideal for cloud vendors because it keeps hardware and operations costs low due to outsourcing.
Is Switching to a Cloud-Based Server Right for My Business?
You can determine if moving to the cloud is the best option for your business by considering the strategic and operational benefits. Evaluate the benefits and drawbacks of your current setup and estimate the outcome of a cloud-based server.
Since migrating to the cloud can take several months, plan your timeline accordingly. Understand the type of cloud you’re migrating to and make a plan based on that information. A well-planned migration reduces costs and data errors. The size of your business, the amount of data being migrated and the number of applications being migrated will affect your timeline.
What Do I Need to Consider Before Migrating to the Cloud?
Before your business can move its operations to the cloud, some prerequisites should be met. Follow this checklist before initiating your cloud migration:
Choose a single-cloud or multi-cloud setup.
Perform any refactoring that’s necessary.
Determine the key performance indicators (KPIs) for your cloud environment.
Switch your overproduction.
Establish a migration architect role.
Prioritize your migration components.
Create a data migration plan.
Decide a level of cloud integration.
Establish performance baselines.
Review your application resource allocation.
How Do Applications in the Cloud Stay Secure?
The security measures of cloud platforms vary by model. Administrators use public subnets to place the right permissions on global servers. Encryption keeps confidential data secure and helps to avoid a data breach. Cloud vendors keep their environment secure for their customers through network monitoring, threat detection, cybersecurity framework and fraud prevention. Identity and access management (IAM) roles focus on making application programming interface (API) calls and other special privileges.
What Is Virtualization in Cloud Implementation?
A virtualization platform for implementing the cloud separates the back-end and user levels. It deploys models of cloud hosting services like platform as a service (PaaS), software as a service (SaaS) and infrastructure as a service (IaaS). By creating a seamless environment between the levels, virtualization makes cloud implementation simple, efficient and cost-effective.
Manage Data Better With Morefield Communications
The pros and cons of cloud computing lean much more heavily toward benefits than disadvantages. Cloud is a managed service that can help companies of any size save time and improve their bottom line. But not every provider can offer the same level of benefit. Morefield Communications provides IT solutions and services with passion and precision unmatched in the industry. We’re proud to set ourselves apart on three specific levels:
Experience: Morefield has more than 70 years of experience in communications and information technology. Our extensive history goes beyond experience to expertise.
Service: We do everything in our power to provide a stellar experience for every customer. Our team leverages expert knowledge to answer all your questions, big and small, and strives to make you feel like you’re part of our extended family.
Transparency: We believe the best business relationships are built on honesty and forthright communication. You can always expect integrity from Morefield Communications.
If your business is considering the transition to cloud computing or another form of system management, you likely have a lot of questions. Contact Morefield to learn more about the benefits of cloud computing and the services that can fuel your company’s future growth.
Technology makes modern-day business possible by increasing efficiency and generating useful insights through data. Your networks house your information and make it possible to get more work done than ever before. As one of your most valuable assets, your network deserves the utmost care and attention when it comes to upkeep.
Many businesses assume that the only option for network management is to delegate it to the in-house IT team, but that’s far from the truth. Managed IT and technology services provide expert support and service for your network, so you can focus on what your business does best. The business benefits of managed services, in combination with the money you can save, make it a smart solution for companies of any size.
What Are Managed Services?
Every business uses technology as a means to compete in their field and maximize efficiency. Businesses rely on networks and IT more than ever, and the funds needed to maintain an in-house team keep rising. For many small businesses, this often means sacrificing the quantity or quality of network maintenance efforts to conserve limited resources.
Managed services are a way to outsource maintenance and repairs to experts. A top-notch managed services provider (MSP) performs multiple functions for your company, such as:
These services take the pressure off your internal IT team, freeing them up to assist your employees and perform daily tasks with better efficiency and focus.
What Are Break-Fix Services?
Break-fix services ruled the market for decades. When businesses experienced a problem with a server, they would call up an IT expert and try to explain the issue. If they were lucky, a solution could be found quickly. If they weren’t, they would be stuck with expensive repairs and downtime. This type of reactive service is known as the break-fix approach.
Managed services, on the other hand, offer constant and consistent monitoring of your systems with the goal of preventing failures wherever possible. Remote monitoring means your service provider can always see what’s going on and fix it directly.
What Are the Benefits of Managed Services vs. Break-Fix Services?
The pros and cons of managed services make it clear that partnering with an MSP is the best way to simplify your IT management affordably. These are the top 10 financial and business benefits of managed services.
1. Predictable Low Cost
Can managed services cut down cost? The answer is yes. It can also make your IT expenses more predictable. With managed services, your costs are neatly packaged into a set amount paid on an annual or monthly basis. An in-house IT team, on the other hand, comes with many more frequent and unexpected expenses that can quickly drain your budget.
Networks come with a lot of equipment that needs to be maintained and sometimes repaired or replaced. MSPs provide maintenance as well as repairs as part of the contract, so a fix that might cost you thousands of dollars out of pocket is absorbed by the provider. This model shields your budget from extreme fluctuation, improving the stability of your business overall.
Small businesses benefit immensely from managed services because the up-front cost to start is so much lower. When a business starts from scratch, the initial costs of hiring and training a team while simultaneously paying for the servers and other equipment necessary can be financially overwhelming.
The price tag associated with maintaining an in-house IT team is a big one, and that’s why you often see teams that are understaffed, overworked and unable to get everything done due to a lack of time and resources. That doesn’t work on a daily basis, and it definitely doesn’t fly when your company is trying to expand.
Training even one additional employee for your IT department costs thousands of dollars, and there is never a guarantee that they’ll even stay with the company. An MSP absorbs the cost of training, and you’ll never have to worry about your IT experts jumping ship.
Scaling networks takes significant coordination, manpower and new equipment. It’s a huge cost for any company, and it often takes an IT team’s focus off other important functions like security. Managed services can help you expand or upgrade systems when you need to, without having to hire and train employees you won’t necessarily need later on.
MSPs help your business stay flexible when it comes to resources and can accommodate swift changes an in-house team might not be able to respond to efficiently.
3. Minimized Downtime
Downtime most often crops up due to equipment issues. Servers can fail, and computers can malfunction. Electrical disruptions can occur as well. These issues are usually mitigated by implementing redundant equipment that allows systems to switch to a backup when there is a failure.
Unintentional human error accounts for a significant chunk of downtime, and there’s not much you can do to avoid it. Employing strong safeguards in critical systems is the best way to reduce the potential risk.
System attacks can also take out your networks and data. Small businesses are particularly vulnerable to cybercrime. Up to two-thirds of attacks are targeted at small businesses, and small businesses are the least likely to have protections in place that would minimize downtime in the event of a cyberattack.
Reducing the risk of downtime is a multi-faceted task that an in-house team may not have the bandwidth or experience to tackle effectively. Managed services can cut down costs associated with downtime by preventing it from happening in the first place.
4. A Preventive Approach
When something breaks, you fix it. With networks and data, however, the cost of repairs can put a big dent in your company’s budget. Depending on the size of your business, the cost of a security breach can run into the millions of dollars.
Rather than rushing to call in experts after a disaster has occurred, it’s smarter to take a preventive approach by partnering with a managed services provider. They monitor your systems for problems and can resolve issues before they transform into full-fledged catastrophes. The cost savings associated with this approach are one of the top reasons to use managed services.
5. Proven Experts
Hiring an IT team is expensive and time-consuming, and you can’t know for sure how good they are until they’re faced with a serious network issue. Some may pass the test with flying colors. Others may not be able to resolve the problem in a timely manner or at all, costing your company money you can’t afford to waste.
Even when your IT staff is competent and comfortable with your systems, you may find they are not well-equipped to operate or maintain new equipment and systems as you add them. The most common issue is that even the most well-trained employees don’t have the knowledge and experience of an MSP’s large team.
An MSP can provide specialized services to fill in any gaps in your team’s expertise. It doesn’t make sense to have an employee learn a whole new skill set for a one-time project. An MSP gives you access to a team of experts with precise skills you wouldn’t have access to otherwise.
6. Narrowed Business Focus
What are the advantages of managed services for your IT team? An MSP frees up your IT team for pursuits that are more crucial to your business. The common perception of IT professionals envisions them performing menial repairs and asking whether you’ve turned it off and on again. While this is true in some businesses, it’s definitely an ineffective use of IT resources.
If your internal team is swamped with helping users fix basic issues or dealing with equipment malfunctions, they don’t have the time or focus to work on projects that push your business forward.
Managed services can help by redesigning workflows, upgrading equipment and automating certain tasks. This takes the pressure of daily processes off your team so they can focus on innovation.
7. Data Compliance
Your company’s data is subject to a litany of regulations designed to keep information secure. Your team has to sift through the hundreds of current standards and regulations and figure out which ones apply to your company. They also have to ensure every one of those applicable rules is followed to the letter, all while performing their day-to-day work.
The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) are the most widely applicable standards businesses have to meet. The consequences for violating these and other standards are hefty fines and reputation damage that some businesses might not be able to overcome.
A managed services provider handles the complexities of compliance and auditing, so you don’t have to worry about violating data security regulations. They can also run reports and conduct audits that prove your organization is meeting all requirements. This can save your in-house team thousands of hours in the long run.
8. Reliable Relationships
The ongoing relationship with an MSP has several benefits. Managed services act as a partner for your in-house team and a bridge between you and technology vendors. They serve as a single point of contact for your business and become familiar with your company over time.
A trustworthy MSP is a valuable partner in helping your business grow, not just a service you call when something breaks. They have a vested interest in keeping your networks and systems healthy and delivering insights you can use to help your bottom line.
9. 24/7 Support
Managed IT services use remote monitoring technology to keep an eye on your systems day and night. Real-time alerts mean any problems that occur can be corrected before they have a noticeable impact on your business.
Without constant monitoring, it’s easy for a network issue to happen during off-hours. If a system goes down in the middle of the night, it might take some time before anyone finds out. In some cases, the problem isn’t discovered until the next day — after significant damage has already been done. Remote monitoring allows your MSP to take instant corrective action as soon as they receive an alert.
Working with an MSP can also give your company professional cybersecurity support. MSPs can improve your cybersecurity efforts in a few key ways:
Updated security standards: MSPs can implement security strategies that will keep your business protected from data loss, hacking and other hazards.
Cyberattack prevention: These protections monitor for security threats to prevent them from becoming malicious attacks.
Rapid response: If a security incident occurs, the MSP will assess the challenge and determine the best course of action to lessen the damage.
Regulatory compliance: An MSP with PCI compliance can reduce risks related to sensitive information breaches, like credit card use and client data.
10. New Technology
Technology itself is one of the biggest costs in IT. There’s always an equipment upgrade to be had, and it can be tough to discern which ones are right for your business. There are few things more frustrating than investing in new network infrastructure only to find it doesn’t meet your needs — or your team doesn’t know how to operate it correctly.
One of the major benefits of using managed services is the constant access to up-to-date technology. You’ll never have to worry about your systems being outdated or making an investment that doesn’t pan out. The cost of system upgrades is rolled right into your MSP fee.
11. Reduced Risk
Every business faces risks due to government regulations, financial conditions, market conditions and evolving technologies. Many companies have to comply with privacy laws and regulations from PCI DSS, ISO and other organizations. In addition, a successful cyberattack could cause financial and reputational damage to your business, causing you to lose profits and customers.
Using an MSP for your IT services can help your business mitigate some of these risks and protect your assets. MSPs understand the security challenges and regulations of your industry and can help you meet them. Their expertise can help you keep up with changing regulations while having a reliable defense against security issues.
Managed IT services are proactive, meaning you can also reduce your risk of becoming the victim of a breach. Your MSP can identify vulnerabilities and put the appropriate defenses in place to mitigate them. A secure system can build your trust with customers, encouraging them to do business with you.
12. Focused Energy
Managed services for IT make it easier to do your job. You can trust your MSP to provide the knowledge and expertise necessary to improve your security while you focus on your core business efforts and goals. If you have in-house IT professionals, an MSP can assist with day-to-day tasks and projects like:
Disaster recovery planning.
Data center solutions.
Asset and computer systems management.
With a break-fix system, an IT problem could keep you from continuing your daily tasks. Diagnosing and fixing problems in the moment takes additional time away from your work. In this way, regular IT issues can prevent you from growing your business. An MSP identifies potential issues early on, saving time and allowing your team to focus its energy on your business instead of technical difficulties.
Choosing the Right Managed Services Provider
Like any service, outsourcing management only works if you select the right partner. Consider these factors when you’re deciding which MSP is right for your company:
Defined Service Level Agreements: Businesses come in all shapes and sizes. Service level agreements should, too. A good MSP will have flexible options to ensure compliance and timely response times. A clearly-defined service level agreement benefits both parties by setting airtight expectations from the start.
Experience in Your Industry: Look for a managed services provider that knows your field. Keeping up with regulatory requirements takes experience, and a track record of previous success is a good indicator that they have what it takes to successfully maintain your network.
Commitment to Growth: Why use managed services if they’re not focused on the future? Look for an innovative approach and a willingness to take on new challenges and new technology.
Exceptional Customer Service: Customer service is non-negotiable when it comes to selecting an MSP. These are the people you’ll be talking to if something goes wrong, so honesty and friendliness can be a defining feature. The right services provider has a dedicated team ready to anticipate your needs, going above and beyond every time.
Why Managed Services at Morefield
Managed services are a cost-effective way for small and medium-sized businesses to increase competitiveness. They allow you to benefit from the same quality of equipment, level of experience and support as you’d find in much larger corporations.
With over 70 years of technological experience and a passion for world-class service, Morefield Communications is your source for the best in system management. We use the latest and greatest technology to monitor your servers, routers, firewalls, workstations and more. Contact Morefield today to learn how our managed services take the headache out of IT and get the greatest ROI out of your network.
4 Interesting Cloud Storage Trends to Watch for in 2022
June 3, 2022 |
One area of cloud computing that is used widely, but often isn’t as flashy as the software side is cloud storage. Storing files in the cloud to make them easily accessible and shareable from anywhere was one of the very first uses of the cloud that was adopted widely by many users.
As advances like automation and AI come to other types of cloud services, like team communications and business apps, cloud storage is not being left behind. The industry also continues to evolve to make storing data in the cloud less complex, more reliable and better secured.
It’s estimated that in 2021, 50% of all company data was stored in the cloud. This is an increase of 15% from just five years earlier. With today’s hybrid teams that may be working from home and be hundreds or thousands of miles away from co-workers, it’s important to centrally locate files in cloud systems that can be accessed by everyone.
What can you expect to see in the cloud storage market this year? Here are some of the most interesting trends to keep an eye on.
1. BUILT-IN RANSOMWARE DEFENSES
Ransomware can impact data no matter where it is stored. Whether on a computer, server or in a cloud storage platform, this malware can encrypt the information and make it unreadable to the business that owns it.
In 2021, the average ransomware payment increased by 82% and ransomware incidents rose 64% during the first half of the year. A survey of CISOs found that over the last 18 months, 98% of organizations suffered a cloud data breach.
To combat ransomware, you’ll begin seeing cloud storage services offering ransomware recovery protection. This involves sophisticated systems that can help prevent files from being encrypted by code as well as those that take a copy of files and store it securely away, so files can be restored at the click of a button.
With ransomware showing no sign of stopping, this is a welcome addition in the cloud storage arena.
2. “THE EDGE” BECOMES MORE KEY IN CLOUD STORAGE
One of the new buzzwords of the last few years has been “Edge” or “Edge computing.” This means bringing data applications and storage resources geographically closer to the user that needs to connect to them.
As reliance on cloud storage and other cloud applications has increased, so has the need to improve response times from user to server. When data must travel across large distances, it becomes more difficult to quickly and economically deliver the best user experience. Thus, cloud service providers have been moving to an Edge computing model.
What this means for you is better reliability and faster response when accessing or searching on files because your provider is going to work to provide your service from one of the company’s cloud servers that is geographically closer to your location.
For companies with offices spread out around a country or throughout the world, this means that you’ll want to keep service location in mind when signing up for cloud storage and have a discussion with the provider about distance and how Edge computing factors in.
3. EXPECT MORE HELP FROM AI AND MACHINE LEARNING
AI and machine learning are making just about every area of technology smarter. Microsoft Word and text message apps now predict what you might type to help you fill in the blanks and type faster. Programs like Photoshop can crop around a person in an image in seconds using AI.
AI is also going to become more prevalent in cloud storage this year. You can expect help with automatic organization of your files based on your cloud storage patterns.
Look for features designed to eliminate manual or repetitive tasks to free up more time. This includes AI helping to automate things like provisioning, obtaining and importing data (known as “ingesting”), managing data retention, and more.
4. LEGACY VENDORS BEGIN OFFERING MORE CLOUD OPTIONS
2022 is going to bring more cloud storage options coming from legacy technology providers. For example, Hewlett-Packard Enterprise recently introduced a new Data Services Cloud Console, and Dell Technologies just announced a new APEX multi-cloud design that it is working on to improve the cloud ecosystem.
More cloud storage options mean you may need more help deciding which model will work best for you, as pricing will vary widely. You don’t want to end up with more storage than you need or be paying a lot for a smaller amount of space.
It pays to keep on top of new offerings and understand that every new cloud storage option might not be a fit for your organization’s specific data storage needs.
GET HELP OPTIMIZING YOUR CLOUD STORAGE & BACKUP ENVIRONMENT
Your business data is what runs your company, and it needs to be stored securely and in a way that’s accessible. Find out how we can help you optimize your cloud storage to improve cost efficiency.Contact us today if you want to discuss your cloud storage in greater detail. We can arrange a call and figure out ways to help you.